Will James's Groups



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  • Bob Binkley
  • Liv Mueller
  • Jovana Jane
  • Rebecca Murphy
  • Birgitta Anderzzon
  • Tommy Hall
  • Patrick Upp
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Home to Will James & Gram InterNational

Latest Activity

Kurt Fortmeyer commented on Will James's group 'The "Americana Is Not Country" Group'
""Fast As I Can" by The Trey Ward Band is Bluegrass, but with country overtones."
Jul 12
Kurt Fortmeyer joined Will James's group

The "Americana Is Not Country" Group

The place for old farts and jackasses (and those in spirit). For all that think Americana is a place for old rockers to retire comfortably and younguns to try to look like they came from Appalachia. Not meant to be a place to discuss labels but rather what has become of the real thang. Is it gone forever? It's mainly for those I feel are somewhat left out here, that love country and know it when they hear it, and have no place else left to go.See More
Jul 12
Will James commented on Chris Funk's blog post 'Talking Shop with Leonard Podolak and Jessee Havey (the Duhks)'
"Bruce, the word Cajun comes from the word Acadian ('cadian, cajun), so not sure I'd call it a typo, at least from a linguistic viewpoint. Otherwise I understand Kim's distinction and explanation. (Also as a transcript, it could have…"
Jun 16
Will James commented on Chris Funk's blog post 'Talking Shop with Leonard Podolak and Jessee Havey (the Duhks)'
"Just thrilled to have Tania Elizabeth and her new band Buffalo Stack opening Gram Parsons InterNational VII Nashville for us Nov 7 at Douglas Corner Cafe! Very interesting interview, thanks."
Jun 12
Will James commented on Barry Gilbert's blog post 'Rodney Crowell Continues Quest for 'Timelessness" (Interview)'
"Nice to see him give props to one of the greatest, the sometimes overlooked Mickey Newbury."
Jun 3
Will James commented on Jela Webb's blog post 'Emmylou Harris – The Barbican (London – May 26th 2014)'
"Obviously her best album, and one of the greatest albums of all time, thanks to Daniel Lanois and the special ability of Ms. Harris to work with geniuses, whether Gram Parsons or Lanois. I would have liked to have seen this tour, but the real thing…"
Jun 3
Will James replied to Justine Sadoff's discussion 'What band/singer would they play in your Hell?'
"Sorry due to a typo that made it sound as if I like him, I had to delete comment and repost:Some good choices here but I'd have to go with David Clayton Thomas."
May 31
Will James commented on Jay Minkin's blog post 'Rachel Brown Album Hits the Mark Once Again'
"Nice writing as usual Jay. And don't miss Rachel at Douglas Corner in Nashville for Gram Parsons InterNational VII; after seeing her at Brothers for GIN Cleveland last year, I booked her on the spot. Great album, loved every cut!"
May 31
Will James replied to Nick's discussion 'Songs about Soldiers'
"Sky Pilot, The Animals"
May 26
Will James commented on Adam Kukic's blog post 'Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line: All Abuzz from Current Carnival'
"Was glad to have her at my Gram InterNational 2010 Nashville at the 5 Spot."
May 11
Annamarie Sarto commented on Will James's blog post 'Breakfast In Nudie Suits: Ian Dunlop's Time Machine (Book Review)'
"Thanks Will, I just got it and can't wait to read it."
May 8
Will James commented on Jeremy Gaunt (music JJMG)'s blog post 'Confession: Musicians I should love - but don't'
"My only issue with you listing Tom Waits is your heading "Musicians I Should Love..." -- I don't think I should love Tom Waits even though everyone tells me to. I also agree with most of your other picks. Haven't really liked Ms.…"
May 4
Will James replied to Meghan (aTinyTune.com)'s discussion 'Is Pop Music Now Trumping Pop Country in Substance?'
"Who was better, Stalin or Hitler?"
May 3
Stina commented on Will James's blog post 'Breakfast In Nudie Suits: Ian Dunlop's Time Machine (Book Review)'
"I'm actually about half way - more than - through this book. Great book. Don't go into it believing it's all about Gram. I had read reviews and knew it wasn't. It's shows great glimpses of Gram though. My favourite part so…"
May 2
Will James commented on Will James's blog post 'Breakfast In Nudie Suits: Ian Dunlop's Time Machine (Book Review)'
"Terry, do pick up Breakfast as well, I think you'll enjoy."
May 2
Terry Roland commented on Will James's blog post 'Breakfast In Nudie Suits: Ian Dunlop's Time Machine (Book Review)'
"Nez was superb.  Next up, after I finish with Adam Task and family, is Steinbeck & Charley, thanks to your article.  Maybe even a re-peek at Easy Rider......"
May 2
A blog post by Will James was featured

Breakfast In Nudie Suits: Ian Dunlop's Time Machine (Book Review)

“We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip a trip takes us.” ― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America Some have compared Ian Dunlop's tale of the long road back East after escaping the nightmares of L.A. in the mid-1960s to Jack Kerouac's On the Road. I can see why but, to me, it's closer to two other novels.I remember as a young kid reading Steinbeck's tale of wandering America as an older writer with his career behind him. Travels with Charley was the…See More
May 2
Mishy Park commented on Will James's blog post 'Breakfast In Nudie Suits: Ian Dunlop's Time Machine (Book Review)'
"This is excellent. I love hearing personal anecdotes, particularly about Gram! I will definitely read this book. Thanks for your great review Will."
May 2
Will James replied to Plain Sense's discussion 'What is your favorite wet weather song?'
"Hal's comment made me think of the Rick Roberts Burritos (blue album) "Four Days of Rain" and I'm feeling OK... "
Apr 30
Will James commented on Will James's blog post 'Breakfast In Nudie Suits: Ian Dunlop's Time Machine (Book Review)'
"Even though after Ian had just left the band, I still think "Safe at Home" is one of Gram's best efforts, as did the Library of Congress by adding it to their collection representing American music."
Apr 30

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Comment Wall (103 comments)

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At 9:53pm on January 22, 2014, Sin City Woodstock said…

Thank you for your note, and the invite Will!  Sounds like a great group and event! Definitely interested.

At 1:53pm on December 31, 2013, Ann Crews Vassiliou said…
Thanks Will. Proud to be a member of this particular group.
At 7:50pm on October 30, 2013, The Medicine Show said…

Thanks for the welcome yes I help with Riches publicity in Europe. 

At 2:05pm on July 29, 2013, Patrick Ferguson said…

Thanks for the warm welcome, Will! I think I may have the most Americana story ever- I should tell it some time. The short summary is that once, when I was roommates with the Dashboard Saviors in Athens, GA, we stayed up all night playing guitars and singing songs with Uncle Tupelo in Vic Chesnutt's half of the house. That was on the tour for the album "No Depression." I don't know why it took me so long to join this forum! It looks like I belong here!

At 8:16pm on May 20, 2013, Jo Ellen Harvey said…

Hey Will

I joined Buffalo Heard. Thanks for letting me know about it.



At 11:57am on April 12, 2013, Chelsea said…
Haha thanks...not a paisley fan, if you couldn't tell. But anyway, I am a fan of the ale house, I used to go there when it was under different ownership (twice!) and the new setup is cool. Hoping for some talent to come through. If you're in the area again, you should check out the crooked I. Also, the Riverside Inn is hosting a music festival just a shade south of here that looks pretty awesome!
At 6:37pm on February 1, 2013, Maria Gladstone said…

Thanks Will.  Tomorrow is my Mom's memorial service and we made a CD of all the music she liked. George Jones, Faron Young, Conway Twitty, Buck Owens, Jack Greene, etc...  One of her favorite songs was Statue of a fool. 

At 7:42am on January 30, 2013, Jennifer Coleman said…

Thank you, Will. I will do that. I have been reading your stuff thru Patrick.


At 7:07pm on January 29, 2013, Jennifer Coleman said…
Thank you! Patrick is an incredible song writer. I am very proud of him. We are so excited about seeing Nashville and meeting you.
At 11:58am on January 22, 2013, Mj Leonard said…

Hey Will,

I can't personally differentiate between "country" and Americana (roots music). But I think "Your Cheating Heart", is one of the best representations of pure country music.

It does make me sick when I hear Taylor Swift...called,country. 

Profile Information

Nomination Proposal to the Country Music Association to Induct Gram
Parsons Into the Country Music Hall of Fame (Copied from original .pdf file submitted as hard copy with List of Supporters to CMA, 9/19/08, on the 35th anniversary of Gram's death and again in Sept. 2009)

Based on the criteria established and promulgated by the Country Music
Association in regard to an individual's nomination for induction into the
Country Music Hall of Fame (originally submitted Sept. 19, 2008)

Basic Standard A
Candidate basically is to be judged on the degree of his/her
contribution to the advancement of Country Music and on the indelibility of
his/her impact.

Ingram Cecil Parsons, ne Ingram Cecil Connor III (Gram Parsons) meets this
standard unquestionably, arguably advancing country music more than any
other individual or force within that past 40 some years. His indelible impact
can be seen and is seen in the broad scope of all types of country music today.
His contributions, from the International Submarine Band's "Safe at Home"
(which many critics consider to be one of the great country albums of all time),
his work with the Byrds during which he literally hijacked a rock band to
further his country vision with "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" (upon its release he
played the Grand Ole Opry, a milestone the Opry itself marks as being 33 in
their top 80 Opry Moments of All Time), through the groundbreaking "Gilded
Palace of Sin" and his two albums completed with his protégée Emmylou
Harris, "GP" and "Grievous Angel." It should be noted that Ms. Harris herself
on numerous occasions credits Gram Parsons for her understanding of and
distinguished career in country music and her own well deserved induction into
the Country Music Hall of Fame. Please see the comments of the almost 3,000
individuals comprising the List of Supporters (attached and at
www.gramparsonspetition.com) for further substantiation of this observation.

Individual Candidacy Only
Individuals may be elected to the Hall of Fame. Companies, publications, radio stations and other groups many of which significantly foster Country Music are not eligible for Hall of Fame recognition.

Gram Parsons, although he worked with many distinguished musicians,
including those mentioned above, members of the Flying Burrito Brothers, and
Elvis Presley's backup band, is presented here for individual consideration as a
country artist; moreover, it is his singular individuality upon which this
nomination is based.

Scope of Activity Flexible
Authority is vested in the Electors in identifying the scope of a candidate's activity in Country Music. The individual may have excelled in a narrow, specific sphere . . . such as songwriting, publishing, musician, recording artist, etc. or may have been active in several areas. In any event, a candidate must have achieved definitive leadership in his/her own field of Country Music activity. However, it is definitely not mandatory to honor the leaders in every activity related to Country Music. A candidate truly must
compete with all candidates in all fields, as well as with all candidates in his/her own field.

I cannot imagine a field of endeavor within country music within which any
individual can claim greater and broader excellence than that of Gram
Parsons, a scope which encompasses brilliant country songwriting, plaintive
and uniquely evocative voice, excellent musicianship on several instruments,
and as a leader, his artistic vision compelling others to help him achieve his
steadfast objective: to promote country music and bring it squarely into the
next century without turning his back on innovation in
the era in which he lived, which often was a divisive and turbulent time. He sought with gentle kindness, good humor, wit and his art to allow those who would not otherwise "see the light" to have it shine on them brightly.

Span of Influence

The time factor of a candidate's impact on Country Music is
completely flexible. It may cover an uninterrupted span of many years or it may
cover two or more distinct and separated time cycles. Conceivably, even a
candidate may earn Hall of Fame recognition by one transient act, momentary
in time, providing the impact on Country Music is deemed significant enough.
Longevity of involvement with Country Music, therefore, will not in itself
warrant recognition in the Hall of Fame.

In addition to his own history-altering achievements on the field of country
music, Gram Parsons had a profound and now widely recognized influence on
others that continues to this day. More than any other artist of the late 60s and
early 70s, Gram brought a new audience to a deep, genuine, and
transformational appreciation of authentic country music. Ironically, his
direct influence has actually had as great a longevity, if not greater, than any
nominee considering by your distinguished board over the years. I know of no
one in the past 40 years whose influence has actually grown and continues to
grow to span the decades and to have as broad an impact on country music
than Gram Parsons.

Influence on Others
A most significant criterion in evaluating a candidate will
be his/her inspirational effect on others . . . the degree to which he/she
multiplies his influence through others to create impact on Country Music far
beyond his/her own direct individual contribution.

Gram Parsons had an exponential influence on those of his time and those in
the 35 years that he's been gone. The best testament to this are the comments
attached from all over the world, for indeed his influence was arguably more
global in spreading the gospel of genuine American country music throughout
the world than any other country artist in history (again, please reference the
List of Supporters and their countries of origin).

Quantity vs. Quality

A candidate's ability to expand the popularity of Country
Music is a quantitative virtue. The professionalism of his/her activity is a
"qualitative" one. Both quantitative and qualitative criteria are to be considered
equally and separately important; conceivably, one may be present without the

It is the opinion of this nominator that the Latin word versus should not be used
in the above criterion. Substitute "and." The key words in this criterion are "a
candidate's ability to expand the popularity of country music" as a quantitative
virtue. Many country stars come and go, some even selling millions of
records. But how many of them leave an indelible mark on the dispersion of
country music to new audiences and expand its reach to any great extent? One
who did and continues to is Gram Parsons. Again, the best reference for this is
the List of Supporters and their comments. I was amazed as someone who
loved Gram's music back when he was with us that so many, seemingly most,
have discovered him recently and express their reverence for his music and
wish to emphasize how it has influenced their own style of country. There is
little to add, except to say that any number of expert lists, books and reviews
put the five albums in particular listed in the first criterion at the top of
influential and both quantitative, over the years, and qualitative excellence far
above most others.

Devotion to Others
Furthering Country Music by selfless devotion to the
interests of others may enhance the candidacy of an individual, but it is not
essential to winning. The activities of a candidate may be completely self
devoted and still be considered significant enough to warrant recognition.

Perhaps the most striking example of Gram's selfless devotion to others is a
letter he wrote from Harvard, one of many, to his little sister Avis, for whom he
felt responsible after the death of both parents due to alcoholism. Please
reference David Meyer's biography (page 163) or other source for this letter,
which is as exquisite in its thought, feeling and artistry as any of his songs. All
who knew Gram knew of his personal devils (a major theme of country music),
but they also attest to his humanity and devotion to those he loved. Again, a
good source who has backed this up many times on the record is Ms. Emmylou

Professional Conduct and Image
A candidate is expected to have practiced the highest caliber of professional conduct in order to enhance the public image of both himself/herself and Country Music.

All of the foregoing attest to Mr. Parsons' caliber of professional conduct. All
who knew him attest to the degree to which he had grown, both personally and
professionally, during the making of those brilliant final albums. His music
represents a desperate though controlled attempt to bridge the abyss that had
formed in the 60s and early 70s. He would preach the truth of country music to
anyone who would listen, and often did. He would walk into an otherwise
dangerous bar in the valley and win over the most hardcore of traditional
country fans. He proudly wore the same suits as Mr. Porter Wagoner, not
ironically, but out of a deep respect for the music he loved (indeed, he was one
of Mr. Nudie's best friends). Had he lived, he would have continued to enhance
the public image of country music as many of his proclaimed followers have.

Personal Morals and Behavior
The selection process is not a judgment of personal morals and behavior, providing the latter do not negatively affect the professional conduct of the candidate and the public image of Country Music.
No one will ever know what definitively happened that night 35 years ago just as no one will know all the details of New Year’s Day 1953. Gram Parsons lived in an undeniably divisive time, a world between the worlds.
As has been stated, everyone knew Gram had his devils. As his beloved Louvin Brothers
said, "Satan Is Real." But I am not going to simply write off this criterion by
pointing to an equally great country music legend who died a tragic young
death fighting his devils. Recent science has shown that addiction is also real,
and is caused by a defect in a gene. Both of Gram's biological parents were
extreme addictive personalities clearly demonstrating this genetic abnormality
(again, see Meyer's biography and others). True, the era he had no choice but
to live in didn't help, but to judge Mr. Gram Parsons negatively based on an
addictive behavior would not only rule out Hank, Sr., but also many other
country music notables by using a prejudicial criterion clarified by modern
science. No, Gram Parsons believed wholeheartedly in his art, in country music, in
what William Faulkner called the only thing worth writing about: the human
heart in conflict with itself.

Gram%20Parsons%20Tribute%20Night%20Nashville Quantcast

Will James's Blog

Breakfast In Nudie Suits: Ian Dunlop's Time Machine (Book Review)

“We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip a trip takes us.”

― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Some have compared Ian Dunlop's tale of the long road back East after escaping the nightmares of L.A. in the mid-1960s to Jack Kerouac's On the Road. I can see why but, to me, it's closer to two other novels.

I remember as a young kid reading Steinbeck's tale of wandering America as an older writer with his career behind him. Travels with Charley was the first time I got a real sense of my country, the good and the bad of it. I somewhat recognized it as my family would drive from Buffalo, New York, to northern Wisconsin every summer, and most of the road back then was not yet Interstate with its homogenized landscape.

I first heard Gram Parsons about the time I was reading Nabokov's Lolita for a class in college. I've read it at least four times since. They say that Lolita was about Nabokov's love affair with America, and I believe that's true. In my mind no one has painted a better picture of those long-gone highways than in this oft-maligned novel, with the exception of the master American painter Edward Hopper.

Also, about that time, Dennis Hopper's road movie Easy Rider came out (Gram and Ian had already appeared in Peter Fonda's movie The Trip - there's a humorous inside take on that in Breakfast). Say what you will in retrospect, Easy Rider changed us, or more accurately, showed us to ourselves. It wasn't a totally pretty picture, which is why I think it's still pretty good. Easy Rider basically added the soundtrack to an updated Travels with Charley. One came at the beginning of the sixties, the other, toward the end. Breakfast In Nudie Suits, pretty much the middle.

I didn't hear country music at home in Buffalo, and I…


Posted on April 29, 2014 at 11:30am — 9 Comments

Web Metrics & the Meaning of Lifetime: The Case of Gram Parsons

In these days of Linda Chorneys and Lana Del Rays, it's getting increasingly difficult to deal with the criteria used to nominate someone, and in which category even, whether for halls of fame or for the likes of the Grammy Awards. There are clearly ways to "play the system" if indeed there still exists a system to be played. You have to know your way around the Casino.

And when it comes to "lifetime achievement awards," which would also include induction into halls of fame, the definition of "lifetime," which had become "15 minutes of fame," seems now to be reduced to about a nanosecond.

Add the landscape-altering shifts in "categories" and their qualifying criteria, such as airplay ("spins" adding terrestrial and satellite), and unit sales (now including 0's and 1's, electrons either embedded in plastic discs or just free flowing), streaming, pirated, etc., and you are left with a real tossed salad, especially when dealing with artists whose careers have spanned these relatively recent revolutions, or even those who lived when music had only two vehicles -- live or Long Playing (LPs).

Trends in measuring popularity, success, artistic accomplishment, and any other yardsticks involved in nominating an artist for any such "lifetime" accolades become increasingly complex when dealing with those whose careers either spanned these changes that have rocked the business, or who lived their lives entirely in a statistically simpler, more easily quantifiable time.

As an example, let's examine an artist on Rolling Stone's List of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, who has been nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times, has been the subject of a slew of biographies in both books and film, and who is the subject of a global petition to induct him into the Country Music Hall of Fame with over 11,000…


Posted on January 16, 2014 at 11:30am — 11 Comments

Preserve & Restore Gram Parsons' First Performance Venue: The Derry Down, Winter Haven, FL

The biggest thing in Winter Haven, Florida, used to be Cypress Gardens, the result of an ambitious dream of one Dick Pope with backing from John Snively, Gram Parsons' grandfather and Florida citrus king. Long neglected, the amusement park and gardens are now run by Legoland, which has preserved some of the original Cypress Gardens and provided Winter Haven a chance to rebound. Legoland now also owns Gram's grandparents' home and uses it for special functions (photo by Bob Kealing at left). The gorgeous restoration of the Ritz Theatre is another example of Winter Haven's re-birth, a wonderful example of what communities can do working together and following Main Street's four-point approach to revitalization. The downtown streetscape of Winter Haven has undergone a remarkable facelift, also a result of such community cooperation led by Winter Haven Main Street.

The town now has a new project in the works: preserving and restoring the building that Gram's stepdad, Bob Parsons, bought for his son to play and hone his skills as a performer. The Derry Down Project seeks to restore the venue where a young Gram Parsons and his band, the folk-oriented Shilohs, were regulars, but also where others played from the historically rich well of the Florida Youth Center Circuit (term coined by Bob Kealing, author of…


Posted on January 2, 2014 at 8:30pm — 2 Comments

CD Review & Interview: PC & the Angels of Death "Jaded Starlings In a Gilded Cage"

PC, otherwise known in the Valley of California as Patrick Coleman, is still a young guy by my standards, but he's been around. Around in this case is mainly the Valley (home base is Modesto). He describes his musical background in the interview below, but let's say he's been everywhere musically. But with Jaded Starlings In a Gilded Cage he and his band come home to their roots in the Valley, which to anyone familiar with names such as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Chris Hillman, and Lefty Frizzell (who moved to Bakersfield in the 70s to escape Nashville) is familiar territory as one of the seminal regions in the progression of true country music (with apologies to Blake Shelton).

The Valley is somewhat isolated, and such regions often form distinctive sounds. Patrick Coleman has been exposed to all forms of music, but the Valley sound can be unique, such as what Buck Owens created. So too the sounds of Patrick's new band, the Angels of Death, and the new CD.

Dwight Yoakum is not from the Valley, although as a disciple of Buck Owens you wouldn't know it (who is actually from California?). In a recent interview (Drew Millard, Noisy, http://bit.ly/YvmURu), Dwight talks about the same type of music that informs PC & the Angels of Death:

I had been a fan of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, but I also had been a fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival, which was that kind of Bay Area country-rock. “Swamp Rock,” as it’s referred to. And Beck and I even chased that a bit, in terms of the groove of “A Heart Like Mine.” I told him, I said, “Everybody always does kind of the Swamp groove variation of what John Fogerty did, but nobody ever really attacked the country parts of “Bad Moon Rising.” I said, “That’s what that song, to me, needs.” And so he had his assistant engineer, as I said, play drums on it, and we end up with this kind of great, Stones-colliding-with-Johnny-Cash…


Posted on January 26, 2013 at 1:30pm — 11 Comments

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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.